About the new map of Itapetinga (Bahia, Brazil)

Posted by leodobrasil on 1 November 2013 in English (English)

-translated from my previous german diary entry-

Writing about mapping of a town here in the OpenStreetMap diary is really nothing special at all. Nevertheless, I´d like to explain some pioneer work in the outback of the Brazilian state of Bahia to all those which already may be a little bit accostumated to excellent maps, and show how the OpenStreetMap idea is divulged in a very simple way.

Primarily, "Novo Mapa de Itapetinga-BA" (transl. The new map of Itapetinga-BA) is a microblog established and maintained by me that offers to its portuguese speaking visitors - that still don´t know OSM - a direct map access to the urban area of Itapetinga in OSM (more than 99% of the mapping is made by me). Moreover, this site presents also some important and locally interesting applications which all are based on the OpenStreetMap idea, as suggested by the OSM symbol that focusses on the municipal coat of arms:

  • Download of offline usable maps: high definition map sections of downtown Itapetinga, rendered wall and book maps as PDF files, as well as regional electronic sections from the OSM map for navigation in Garmin and Android mobile devices (App OsmAnd)
  • Introduction of the Wheelmap acessibility project for the Itapetinga section
  • Step by step guide for the installation of the OsmAnd app on an android smartphone, including the portuguese commands of the speech guided navigation in Itapetinga and region, as well as provision of a regional "ready to use" map section
  • OSM based web routing machines and measuring tools, predefined for the region
  • Public transportation grid in Itapetinga using the OSM bus relations and additional information about fares and timetables, the first and up to now (!!!) only web visualization of these local information
  • Pepinogram (transl: cucumbergram on the basis of the regional circumscription of "problem" by means of cucumber (port. pepino)): a site established by me on the Ushahidi platform, where locals can denunciate problems, as like as waste depositions, noise pollution or wasting of public money etc.
  • News: news which concern the blog itself, like the new symbol, news concerning regional map and satellite image availability or any other space related news which may be better explained, illustrated or understood by using the OSM map
  • a short introduction about the site, about the OSM project, mapping and authors.

Hosting is done on (so, many thanks to Google!). The only charge which applies is the annual registration fee of the domain of about U$ 14.

As I already mentioned at the beginning, the idea of a regional compilation of OSM services seems to be banal and trivial, but it is not at all, at least in the Brazilian context. OpenStreetMap is (still) largely ignored in Brazil and should be much more popularized, particularly as there are other still more traditional, purely Brazilian crowdmapping projects (like "Tracksource", destinated exclusively to mobile offline users). I googled a lot in order to know if there is any other site in portuguese comparable with my blog, which present the OSM cutout and OSM based spin offs for a town or a region. Result: negative report.

The compilation of the project in form of a site makes it possible for me to know how many daily accesses there are more or less on the regional map section. At least all those accesses done by users that do not access Itapetinga directly on the OSM map, but that web-searched for (updated) Itapetinga maps or similar, and then found my site. Logically, as a convenient collateral effect, the OSM project is more divulged by this.

Site history:

When we moved on May 2010 to Itapetinga (about 70.000 inhabitants), there were in the internet nothing but totally outdated and unreferenced maps of Itapetinga with unusual street names, whose errors are persisting mainly up to now. All the satnavs merchandized in Brazil used that bad map base and that way were eliminated as navigation alternative too. On OSM, for Itapetinga there was a simple "white spot". Not even satellite images with a better resolution as 2 m were available anywhere in the web. With many good luck I could find a black and white town map printed in 2007, which was not much better than the available web maps in terms of street name accuracy, not to mention the lacking street directory.

So, "if there is nothing, build your own" was the need of the hour. I didn´t know anything about the OSM project that moment and initially I began to draw a map with the help of CorelDraw and a GoogleEarth panchromatic hi res satellite image that appeared meanwhile. Buth this didn´t pay a lot, because I was already searching for an alternative for building a routable electronic offline map for my Garmin Colorado 300 device, and the Google aerial image brought about copyright issues. Searching for solutions I found OSM and began in January of 2011 to map the whole town by GPS, as until beginning of 2013 there were no hi-res satellite images on Bing. April 2011 went online. In 2,5 years there were almost 20.000 page views, and in the last months, the daily access numbers leveled out at about 33 (1000 monthly) views. The mapping of Itapetinga in OSM represents today an island of at least regionally unknown detail richness in maps (even if still a lot is missing), which I will enhance in the oncoming years by extension projects of the regional university UESB.

Location: Bairro Camacã, Itapetinga, BA, Brazil

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